Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, May 17, 2006
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Instead of walking across a stage to receive her diploma this weekend, Muhlenberg senior Amy Schmidt will be playing tennis on the national stage.

Schmidt was invited to play in the NCAA Division III Championships, hosted by the NCAA championship banner University of California Santa Cruz. The individual singles and doubles tournaments begin on Saturday and run through Monday. UC Santa Cruz is also hosting the team championships, which began today and culminate on Friday.

“I kind of struggled with it for a while,” admitted Schmidt of the decision to forgo her college graduation. “But I think what it came down to was that I have worked my whole life in tennis, and I can’t imagine not taking my shot out there. I think I would have spent my whole life wondering [what would have happened] if I didn’t go.”

Amy Schmidt This will be Schmidt’s first time in California, but her second at the NCAAs. Last year she became the first player in school history to earn a bid and reached the second round of 32-player tournament, defeating Jeanine Liang of Claremont to earn All-America status before losing to the eventual national champion.

“This year it’s a little more comforting knowing what to expect and how everything works,” she said. “I’m pretty confident because I’ve been practicing with a lot of good people and that has improved my game.”

Not that her game needed much improving. Schmidt is undefeated (13-0) this season and has yet to drop a set. Among her wins are three against other NCAA invitees: Katie Tabb of Washington & Lee (6-4, 7-5), Amy Staloch of Carnegie Mellon (6-3, 6-3) and Sonya Reynolds of Swarthmore (6-4, 6-3). Staloch won the ITA national championship in the fall.

Including her win against Liang and a split with Reynolds last year, Schmidt has won five of six career matches against the remainder of the field.

The two-time Centennial Conference player of the year, Schmidt is ranked third in the Atlantic South Region. She enters the national tournament with a career record of 111-25, including 62-6 in singles.

“I want to go out there and give it all I could in my last match,” said Schmidt. “As long as I do that, I’ll be happy.

“And it would be nice to win a couple of rounds, at least,” she added.

Click on the banner for the official tournament site.

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Last updated May 17, 2006